Illini targets McRoberts, Hansbrough are big men with nearly identical games

   INDIANAPOLIS  They''re separated by a state, an inch and 5 pounds.

   Outside of that, Josh McRoberts and Tyler Hansbrough have plenty in common.

Sights, sounds

   News-Gazette staff writer Brett Dawson fills us in on the scene in Indianapolis:

Nike Notes: Plenty of time to pick

INDIANAPOLIS – There are keywords that make Darnell Jackson''s smile broaden and his eyes light up like a lightning flash.

They include "Bill Self," "Norm Roberts" and "Kansas."

Illini watch young stars with interest

INDIANAPOLIS – There''s no suspense when Luke Zeller checks the mail. He always knows exactly what to expect.

"You go to the mailbox, and there''s three letters from Illinois every day," said Zeller, a 6-foot-10 forward from Washington, Ind. "Every single day. It''s crazy. They probably send me more stuff than anybody."

Sights, sounds

   News-Gazette staff writer Brett Dawson fills us in on the scene in Indianapolis:

Ex-Illini sixth

   Former Illinois All-American Sherman Armstrong placed sixth in the 400-meter hurdles Monday at the Hanzekovic Memorial IAAF Grand Prix meet in Zagreb, Croatia.

Illinois recruiting target Pruitt isn''t mincing words

   INDIANAPOLIS – Shaun Pruitt has played the nice guy role long enough.

   Oh, the 6-foot-8 West Aurora star still is jovial enough. He fielded a solid 15 minutes of questions from reporters Monday at the Nike All-America Camp, and his smile never wore off.

UI''s Jones will return

   CHAMPAIGN – When Illinois'' baseball season ended in mid-May, Itch Jones'' debate on whether to return began.

   The debate is over. The answer is yes.

Illini finalize Europe plan

   The Illinois men''s basketball team is headed overseas. And you''re invited to follow.

   The Illini will travel 11 days and nine nights across Sweden, Estonia and Finland, from Aug. 9-19. Illinois will spend four nights in Stockholm, Sweden, then travel by ship across the Baltic Sea and spend one night in Tallinn, Estonia. UI will end the trip by spending four nights in Helsinki, Finland.

Woods wins easily but Small''s a success

   LEMONT  It started out as a chance for Mike Small to literally get back in the swing of playing in a PGA Tour event, but it ended in a way maybe not even he expected.

   The Illinois golf coach had a banner weekend at the 100th Western Open at Cog Hill Golf and Country Club. Playing in his first Western in two years, Small not only made the cut for the first time in five tries, but shot a 3-under-par 285, tying him for 43rd place, and making it a special summer for the Illini coach who believes he still can be competitive.